Tossing and turning restlessly every night, waiting for your mind to finally shut down, is never a pleasant experience. It’s natural to have a little trouble dropping off here and there, but when it happens consistently, it can obviously be a serious strain on your health and happiness.
If you’re waking up in the mornings feeling grumpy and drained, then it’s time to do something about it! You may not be able to control all the different factors that can disrupt a natural sleeping pattern, but there are certainly things you can do to up your chances of a good night’s sleep.
Here’s a checklist of some of the best proven tips for better sleep…
Top tips to help you sleep soundly
- Have a sleep schedule, and stick to it
If you’re having consistent sleeping troubles, the first thing you need to do is to adopt a firm sleeping schedule, and make sure you stick to it.
Start going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This goes for weekends and holidays wherever you can manage it.
By staying consistent with your sleep, you’ll reinforce your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, and promote a generally deeper sleep at night.
Obviously, if you’ve been having sleeping troubles for some time, it’s going to be tough to just pick a time and fall asleep there and then.
If you can’t drift off within 15 minutes of going to bed, it’s recommended that you get up and do something relaxing for a few minutes. Then, go back to bed when you start to feel tired.
If you make getting to sleep a big deal, you might make it even harder to actually nod off.
- Have a bedtime routine
Another good way to help your quality of sleep is to do the same things every night, thereby telling your body that it’s time to wind down.
For many people, this includes a warm bath or a shower, reading a few pages of a book, or listening to some soothing songs. These kinds of slow, relaxing activities can do a lot for a person’s quality of sleep by easing the transition between our regular, waking mindset and feeling drowsy.
While bedtime rituals should largely be a matter of taste, try to stay away from watching TV, playing games or using a mobile device too close to bed. Some research suggests that the “blue light” from these screens can interfere majorly with sleep.
- Take a look at your eating habits
Just like pretty much everything else relating to our bodies, the things you eat and drink will also have a pretty profound impact on how easy it is for you to get to sleep.
Don’t go to bed feeling either hungry or too full up. This kind of discomfort can be one of the things that keeps you tossing and turning all night.
It’s best to avoid any nicotine or caffeine before bed, as the stimulating effects of these drugs can take hours on end to wear off, and disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night.
It’s best to avoid alcohol too soon before bed, too. A drink might make you feel sleepy to begin with, but like caffeine and nicotine, can be a disruption to your sleep later in the night.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, there are sleep vitamins that can help aid a restful night when other methods simply don’t work or if you have underlying health issues.
- Make your bedroom comfortable
Our physical comfort obviously has a pretty big impact on how easy it is to drop off to sleep, so if you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep, make sure your bedroom is as ideal for sleeping as possible.
It’s always easier to get to sleep in a cool, dark and quiet environment, so bear these things in mind when you’re trying to tweak your bedroom for a better night’s sleep.
Things like blackout shades, comfortable earplugs, and quiet fans can all be handy for making a room more conducive to healthy sleep.
The bedding you use can also have a major impact on your quality of sleep. Depending on where you live, you may want to adjust your bedding to help you feel warmer or cooler.
While these articles can be helpful if you know that heat or the lack of it is a big factor in keeping you awake, your choice of bedding is ultimately down to you. Choose what feels most comfortable for you, and try to find a compromise with your partner if you share a bed!
- Put a cap on your naps
If you have a tendency to nap, particularly for long periods of time when there’s a lot of sunlight, you could really be screwing with your healthy, night-time sleeping pattern. This is especially true if you’re already struggling with insomnia and a poor quality of sleep anyway.
If you absolutely have to nap during the day, try to limit them to 10 to 30 minutes, and keep your naps to the middle of the afternoon.
Obviously, if you work a lot of night shifts, you can make exceptions to the rules about day-time sleeping. If this is the case, be sure to keep your window coverings (ideally blackouts) tightly closed so that none of the natural light coming in will interrupt your daytime sleeping.
- Make exercise part of your routine
You’re probably sick to the back teeth about hearing that you should exercise more, but there’s a reason for this; it works!
Regular physical activity can work wonders for all kinds of aspects to your health, and your sleeping pattern isn’t any different. If you aren’t already, find the time for some exercise every day.
Just remember that the timing of this is important. If you do a lot of vigorous exercise just before bedtime, you could wind up feeling too energised to fall asleep when you actually get into bed. If you discover that this is an issue, simply plan to exercise slightly earlier in the day.
When you’ve spent a lot of energy during the day, and left enough time to cool down, you’ll not only fall asleep much faster, but also enjoy a deeper level of sleep during the night.
- Try to manage your stress levels
When you have a lot to do, or generally just a lot to think about, the quality of your sleep is likely to go downhill. If you know you’re way too stressed, then this might be the thing keeping you awake. In fact, these days it’s probably one of the most prevalent causes of sleeping issues.
Unfortunately, there isn’t some magic wand that you can wave and eliminate all the stress factors in your life. However, there are various healthy ways you can at least mitigate the amount that stress affects you. Start with the basic steps, such as making your life more organised, setting priorities for the things you want to accomplish, and breaking down big projects into smaller, more manageable goals.
Most importantly of all, try to make some time every day where you don’t do much of anything, and simply unwind.
- Check if you have a sleeping disorder
If you are rarely able to get a good night's sleep and wake up in the evening or never feel fully rested in the morning, then it's possible you may have a sleep disorder that is affecting your quality of sleep.
Snoring and sleep apnea are just two examples of sleep disorders that can cause a big problem during the night and prevent you from getting the high quality sleep your mind and body so needs.
If you think you have a sleep disorder then you'll need to seek professional advice from your GP so you can resolve the issue. There are also many medical devices on the market to help with disorders such as sleep apnea to promote a better night's sleep.
There are also devices to ensure your safety. For example, the Wellue O2 Ring will silently vibrate if your oxygen levels are low or your heart rate is abnormal. It also records all your vitals overnight so you can share these with your doctor.
Sleep better with these tips
Everyone has the odd sleepless night here and there, but if it’s becoming a consistent problem, give some of these pointers a try. You’d be surprised at how just a few little changes to your lifestyle can make all the difference to your quality of sleep.